No One Is Listening

by Jerry Ratch

Bum on a Parisian stoop begging

with his big Jackson Pollack

bare head in the rain

The water running in streaks

all over his brain

reminding him of a painting

he once thought of


Man standing outside a bar

talking to his own reflection

in the window

when no one else

is listening


They will always remember

that picture of you in your bright

blue summer dress, with your arms

spread out, leaning against

a wooden fence in Central Park

Your thin body leaning back

and long dark hair over bare arms

like tattoos


They will remember how you

took their heart in your red mouth

like the hawk at the Met Museum

and ate them entirely, soul and all,

before the astonished faces

of a whole class of children


You will never know how

much it hurts

when someone else

touches your face

But they know how much you

count on others

to pull the slivers

out of your heart


and that you were better at shaving your legs

than you were at spreading your wings